- Amalfi Coast,
Naples, Capri, Positano,Lipari, Catania, Montenegro, Budva, Bay of Boka, Dubrovnik, Mljet, Korcula, Brac, Split, Kornati Islands, Zadar, Cres, Pula, Venice
Da Vincenzo, Italy
Positano 84017, Italy
Tel: 39 089 875 128
This historic family restaurant has long been one of the most reliable places in Positano for a good-value meal. Its location, about halfway up the near-vertical stack of houses on the west side of town, makes for a thigh-testing climb from the beach, but it's well worth the effort, as Da Vincenzo is much better than any of its waterside rivals. This is a serious family restaurant with affable waiters who know a thing or two about wine, and a real dedication to seasonal local cuisine. Though the secondi are good, most habitués go for a selection of antipasti—don't miss the skewered grilled octopus accompanied by crispy, deep-fried artichokes—followed by a pasta dish such as the delicious, herby linguine with anchovies and wild fennel, perhaps finishing up with a homemade dessert made by Mamma Marcella. The outside tables are strung along the road, but close encounters with buses, scooters, and strolling locals are all part of the Da Vincenzo buzz.
Open Wednesdays through Mondays 1 to 3 pm and 7 pm to midnight, November through April.
Kopačina, Brač, Croatia
, Brač 21423, Croatia
Tel: 385 21 647 707
You know the food is good when the mix of customers includes white-dusted workmen from Brač's stone quarries and rich yachties who venture off the boat to look for this place on the road between Supetar and Bol. What's the attraction? The lamb: Brač has little grass, so its sheep feed on herbs such as sage and rosemary, dusted with sea salt. When cooked on the spit, those herbal flavors luxuriate with the meat's juices. The veal here is also scrumptious, slow-roasted under a peka, a traditional bell-like cover that acts as a primitive convection oven to keep the meat moist. The indoor dining room has a cafeteria feel, so move to the terrace, with its views of rolling, rocky hills.
Lunch and dinner daily: 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Alle Testiere, Italy
Venice 30122, Italy
Tel: 39 041 522 7220
Nabbing one of the eight tables at this tiny, cramped restaurant near the Santa Maria Formosa church is a major coup; despite a few recent negative reviews (by no means confirmed by our own experience), these are still some of the most sought-after seats in Venice. And there's good reason: Chef Bruno Gavagnin's aromatic, boldly flavored cooking puts a new spin on some favorite Venetian recipes. Gnocchetti are served with baby squid and perfumed with cinnamon; prawns are sautéed in lime and ginger; and the pasta alle vongole, instead of the usual plate of pasta and clams, is actually is a dish of delicious caparossoli clams with a little pasta thrown in, almost as an afterthought. Out front, sommelier Luca di Vita gives details about the short but select wine list.
Open Tuesdays through Saturdays 12:30 to 2 pm and 7 to 9:30 pm.
Split 21000, Croatia
Tel: 385 21 486 675
You can get a decent meal at the traditional, touristic restaurants in Split's Old Town. But Labirint, hidden on a narrow lane past Trg Gaje Bulata across from Old Town's bustling Marmontova Street, is where the locals go. Labirint's raison d'être is beef, serving arguably the region's best steaks. Our pick: the 23-ounce T-bone served with grilled vegetables and potato croquettes, a great antidote to all the fish you've been eating.
Open daily noon to midnight.